But Jiutaro wrested the dirk from him, and clutching him by the collar, dragged him out of the outhouse. Then the other Ronin came up, and they examined the prisoner attentively, and saw that he was a noble-looking man, some sixty years of age, dressed in a white satin sleeping-robe, which was stained by the blood from the thigh-wound which Jiutaro had inflicted.
The two men felt convinced that this was no other than Kotsuke no Suke, and they asked him his name, but he gave no answer, so they gave the signal whistle, and all their comrades collected together at the call; then Oishi Kuranosuke, bringing a lantern, scanned the old man’s features, and it was indeed Kotsuke no Suk6; and if further proof were wanting, he still bore a scar on his forehead where their master, Asano Takumi no Kami, had wounded him during the affray in the castle. There being no possibility of mistake, therefore Oishi Kuranosuke went down on his knees, and addressing the old man very respectfully, said:
“My lord, we are the retainers of Asano Takumi no Kami. Last year your lordship and our master quarreled in the palace, and our master was sentenced to hara kiri, and his family was ruined. We have come tonight to avenge him, as is the duty of faithful and loyal men.
To perform hara kiri
I pray your lordship to acknowledge the justice of our purpose. And now, my lord, we beseech you to perform hara kiri. I myself shall have the honor to act as your second, and when, with all humility, I shall have received your lordship’s head, it is my intention to lay it as an offering upon the grave of Asano Takumi no Kami.”
Thus, in consideration of the high rank of Kotsuke no Suke, the R6nins treated him with the greatest courtesy, and over and over again entreated him to perform hara kiri. But he crouched speechless and trembling. At last Kuranosuke, seeing that it was vain to urge him to dir the death of a nobleman, forced him down, and cut off his head with the same dirk with which Asano Takumi no Kami had killed himself.
Then the forty-seven comrades, elated at having accomplished their design, placed the head in a bucket, and prepared to depart; but before leaving the house they carefully extinguished all the lights and fires in the place, lest by any accident a fire should break out and the neighbors suffer.